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1.  Usefulness of Serum Carcinoembryonic Antigen (CEA) in evaluating response to chemotherapy in patients with advanced non small-cell lung cancer: a prospective cohort study 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:254.
High serum carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) levels are an independent prognostic factor for recurrence and survival in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Its role as a predictive marker of treatment response has not been widely characterized.
180 patients with advanced NSCLC (stage IIIB or Stage IV), who had an elevated CEA serum level (>10 ng/ml) at baseline and who had no more than one previous chemotherapy regimen, were included. CEA levels were measured after two treatment cycles of platinum based chemotherapy (93%) or a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (7%). We assessed the change in serum CEA levels and the association with response measured by RECIST criteria.
After two chemotherapy cycles, the patients who achieved an objective response (OR, 28.3%) had a reduction of CEA levels of 55.6% (95% CI 64.3-46.8) compared to its basal level, with an area under the ROC curve (AURC) of 0.945 (95% CI 0.91-0.99), and a sensitivity and specificity of 90.2 and 89.9%, respectively, for a CEA reduction of ≥14%. Patients that achieved a decrease in CEA levels ≥14% presented an overall response in 78% of cases, stable disease in 20.3% and progression in 1.7%, while patients that did not attain a reduction ≥14% had an overall response of 4.1%, stable disease of 63.6% and progression of 32.2% (p < 0.001). Patients with stable (49.4%) and progressive disease (22.2%) had an increase of CEA levels of 9.4% (95% CI 1.5-17.3) and 87.5% (95% CI 60.9-114) from baseline, respectively (p < 0.001). The AURC for progressive disease was 0.911 (95% CI 0.86-0.961), with sensitivity and specificity of 85 and 15%, respectively, for a CEA increase of ≥18%. PFS was longer in patients with a ≥14% reduction in CEA (8.7 vs. 5.1 months, p < 0.001). Reduction of CEA was not predictive of OS.
A CEA level reduction is a sensitive and specific marker of OR, as well as a sensitive indicator for progression to chemotherapy in patients with advanced NSCLC who had an elevated CEA at baseline and had received no more than one chemotherapy regimen. A 14% decrease in CEA levels is associated with a longer PFS.
PMCID: PMC3665670  PMID: 23697613
Carcinoembryonic antigen; Non small-cell lung cancer; Tumor markers; Prognosis; Response prediction
2.  Association of nutritional status and serum albumin levels with development of toxicity in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer treated with paclitaxel-cisplatin chemotherapy: a prospective study 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:50.
A frequent manifestation of advanced NSCLC is malnutrition, even though there are many studies which relate it with a poor survival, its relation with toxicity has not yet been consistently reported. The aim of this study was to associate malnutrition and albumin serum levels with the occurrence of chemotherapy-induced toxicity in cisplatin plus paclitaxel chemotherapy-treated NSCLC.
We prospectively evaluated 100 stage IV NSCLC patients treated with paclitaxel (175 mg/m2) and cisplatin (80 mg/m2). Malnutrition was assessed using SGA prior treatment. Neutrophil Lymphocyte Ratio (NLR) and the Platelet Lymphocyte Ratio (PLR) were used to determine the presence of systemic inflammatory response (SIR) and were related to the development of toxicity. Toxicity was graded according to NCI CTCAE version 3.0 after two chemotherapy cycles.
Median age was 58 ± 10 years, 51% of patients were malnourished, 50% had albumin ≤3.0 mg/mL. NLR ≥ 5 was associated with basal hypoalbuminemia (mean ranks, 55.7 vs. 39 p = 0.006), ECOG = 2 (47.2 vs. 55.4 p = 0.026) and PLR ≥ 150 were significantly related with a basal body mass index ≤20 (56.6 vs. 43.5; p = 0.02) and hypoalbuminemia (58.9 vs. 41.3; p = 0.02). Main toxicities observed after 2 cycles of chemotherapy were alopecia (84%), nausea (49%), neuropathy (46%), anemia (33%), lymphopenia (31%), and leukopenia (30%). Patients malnourished and with hypoalbuminemia developed more chemotherapy-induced toxicity overall when compared with those without malnutrition (31 vs 22; p = 0.02) and normal albumin (mean ranks, 62 vs 43; p = 0.002), respectively. Hypoalbuminemia was associated with anemia (56 vs 47; p = 0.05), fatigue (58 vs 46; p = 0.01), and appetite loss (57.1 vs 46.7; p = 0.004) compared with normal albumin. PLR ≥ 150 was related with the development of toxicity grade III/IV (59.27 vs. 47.03 p = 0.008) and anemia (37.9 vs 53.8 p = 0.004).
SIR parameters were associated with malnutrition, weight loss and hypoalbuminemia. Chemotherapy-induced toxicity in NSCLC patients treated with paclitaxel and cisplatin was associated with malnutrition and hypoalbuminemia. Early nutritional assessment and support might confer beneficial effects.
PMCID: PMC2843671  PMID: 20170547
3.  Brain metastasis development and poor survival associated with carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) level in advanced non-small cell lung cancer: a prospective analysis 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:119.
Central nervous system is a common site of metastasis in NSCLC and confers worse prognosis and quality of life. The aim of this prospective study was to evaluate the prognostic significance of clinical-pathological factors (CPF), serum CEA levels, and EGFR and HER2 tissue-expression in brain metastasis (BM) and overall survival (OS) in patients with advanced NSCLC.
In a prospective manner, we studied 293 patients with NSCLC in IIIB-IV clinical stage. They received standard chemotherapy. CEA was measured prior to treatment; EGFR and HER2 were evaluated by immunohistochemistry. BM development was confirmed by MRI in symptomatic patients.
BM developed in 27, and 32% of patients at 1 and 2 years of diagnosis with adenocarcinoma (RR 5.2; 95% CI, 1.002–29; p = 0.05) and CEA ≥ 40 ng/mL (RR 11.4; 95% CI, 1.7–74; p < 0.01) as independent associated factors. EGFR and HER2 were not statistically significant. Masculine gender (RR 1.4; 95% CI, 1.002–1.9; p = 0.048), poor performance status (RR 1.8; 95% CI, 1.5–2.3; p = 0.002), advanced clinical stage (RR 1.44; 95% CI, 1.02–2; p = 0.04), CEA ≥ 40 ng/mL (RR 1.5; 95% CI, 1.09–2.2; p = 0.014) and EGFR expression (RR 1.6; 95% CI, 1.4–1.9; p = 0.012) were independent associated factors to worse OS.
High CEA serum level is a risk factor for BM development and is associated with poor prognosis in patients with advanced NSCLC. Surface expression of CEA in tumor cells could be the physiopathological mechanism for invasion to CNS.
PMCID: PMC2679041  PMID: 19386089
4.  The progressive elevation of alpha fetoprotein for the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with liver cirrhosis 
BMC Cancer  2007;7:28.
Hepatocellular carcinoma is the most common cause of primary liver neoplasms and is one of the main causes of death in patients with liver cirrhosis. High Alpha fetoprotein serum levels have been found in 60–70% of patients with Hepatocellular carcinoma; nevertheless, there are other causes that increase this protein. Alpha fetoprotein levels ≥200 and 400 ng/mL in patients with an identifiable liver mass by imaging techniques are diagnostic of hepatocellular carcinoma with high specificity.
We analysed the sensitivity and specificity of the progressive increase of the levels of alpha fetoprotein for the detection of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with liver cirrhosis. Seventy-four patients with cirrhosis without hepatocellular carcinoma and 193 with hepatic lesions diagnosed by biopsy and shown by image scans were included. Sensitivity and specificity of transversal determination of alpha fetoprotein ≥ 200 and 400 ng/mL and monthly progressive elevation of alpha fetoprotein were analysed. Areas under the ROC curves were compared. Positive and negative predictive values adjusted to a 5 and 10% prevalence were calculated.
For an elevation of alpha fetoprotein ≥ 200 and 400 ng/mL the specificity is of 100% in both cases, with a sensitivity of 36.3 and 20.2%, respectively. For an alpha fetoprotein elevation rate ≥7 ng/mL/month, sensitivity was of 71.4% and specificity of 100%. The area under the ROC curve of the progressive elevation was significantly greater than that of the transversal determination of alpha fetoprotein. The positive and negative predictive values modified to a 10% prevalence are of: 98.8% and 96.92%, respectively; while for a prevalence of 5% they were of 97.4% and 98.52%, respectively.
The progressive elevation of alpha fetoprotein ≥7 ng/mL/month in patients with liver cirrhosis is useful for the diagnosis of hepatocellular carcinoma in patients that do not reach αFP levels ≥200 ng/mL. Prospective studies are required to confirm this observation.
PMCID: PMC1803796  PMID: 17288606
9.  Clinical and pathologic factors associated with survival in young adult patients with fibrolamellar hepatocarcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2005;5:142.
Fibrolamellar Carcinoma (FLC), a subtype of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), is a rare primary hepatic malignancy. Several aspects of the clinic features and epidemiology of FLC remain unclear because most of the literature on FLC consists of case reports and small cases series with limited information on factors that affect survival.
We did a retrospective analysis of the clinical and histological characteristics of FLC. We also determined the rate of cellular proliferation in biopsies of these tumors. We assessed whether these variables were associated with survival.
We found 15 patients with FLC out of 174 patients with HCC (8.6%). Between patients with these neoplasms, we found statistically significant survival, age at onset, level of alpha fetoprotein, and an earlier stage of the disease. The 1, 3 and 5 year survival in patients with FLC was of 66, 40 and 26% respectively. The factors associated with a higher survival in patients with FLC were age more than 23 years, feasibility of surgical resection, free surgical borders, absence of thrombosis or invasion to hepatic vessels and the absence of alterations in liver enzymes. The size of the tumor, gender, cellular proliferation and atypia did not affect the prognosis.
We concluded that FLC patients diagnosed before 23 years of age have worse prognosis than those diagnosed after age 23. Other factors associated with worse prognosis in this study are: lack of surgical treatment, presence of positive surgical margins, vascular invasion, and altered hepatic enzymes.
PMCID: PMC1310628  PMID: 16259635

Results 1-9 (9)